Breaking News Archives - CINET - The International Committee of Textile Care (2024)

Interview Jan Barlow

Jan Barlow has been owner of Jan’s Professional Cleaners in Clio Michigan since 1982. Starting in 1984, she has been involved in Association work in the US for organizations such as the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute (DLI), the National Fire Protection Association International and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Furthermore she was granted various certifications and awards, including the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists-Jack Barth Award of Excellence. Last but not least, she won the CINET Global Overall Award for Retail Textile Cleaners for Small Business Enterprises in 2022.


Jan: “I love working with people and working with CINET seemed to be a natural new thing for me. I actually applied for participating with CINET a couple of years earlier. It was eye-opening for me to realize what was going on in the world. It really puts where you belong in the world in perspective. For me it is important to maintain my curiosity and listening! I like learning things that are new and developing.”

Participating with CINET

Jan: “To me CINET embraces new technologies, which is exciting and really stretches your brain and perception. My first action for CINET was providing a PowerPoint of what I do in my business, that was to be used at a conference in India. I think it was a good example for business owners to copy and adapt to help run their business. A couple of drycleaners reached out to me personally and we had a really good connection. I have started studying French and hopefully I will be able to meet with more people in Frankfurt. After this year’s conference, I plan to share all the new exciting technologies with my staff and other industry people I know who are interested in growing their business. This is what CINET means to me and why I enjoy participating!”

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(photo: at the CFA conference in Toronto – 2023)

Preparations in the ‘Award-winning’ process?

Jan: “CINET has an in depth application for measurement which helps your organize your business success and the accomplishments. We often spend our time solving day-to-day problems and we don’t really measure at a larger scale. Having to commit to paper to what you’ve done over the past years, how you got where you are and actually document it, really helps in lots of ways. An additional benefit is, the younger generation you are working with will gain examples and structure in how you run your business. It gives them a starting point to build upon.”

The Aftermath …

Jan: “Winning an award of being “the best” means that you’re the best at a particular moment in time and that you have to continue to work at it! It’s not a ‘won & done’ thing! You can’t be the best and after three weeks stop handling things properly. All the core values that mirror that you are the best, must continue. You must keep training new staff that come into your business, as well as continuing education for existing staff because it is your standard and you want growth.”

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(photo: Jan with team)

Being the Best in fast changing markets

Jan: “When I started my business, it was all about getting stains out and being able to preserve garments. All at once, we had to be ‘super-environmental’. Then the era of disposable garments started and the whole world seemed to change. What I’m seeing now is a shift back to quality and quality garments. I am shifting my focus to educate the economic value of our industry, actually understanding what the purpose of our job is: to have your quality items saved instead of throwing them away, knowing all the different services available to them.”

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The Frankfurt international conference … a ‘Must’ for US drycleaners?!

Jan: “The international conference in Frankfurt or participating in this event is the ultimate ‘diversity experience’. You will find there are different protocols and customs. What may seem appropriate in your own country, might not be elsewhere. People are curious and friendly, they want to talk to you about what you are doing. CINET has a program that lends itself to having everybody doing good things and making changes that invest in the future. One other focus that CINET is always working on is sustainability. Coming to Frankfurt is being able to figure out ‘what’s next for me’ and seeing there’s so much going on. Some of it is very ‘mind blowing’!”

Learning from each other … sharing innovations!

Jan: “Geography doesn’t count. Nowadays it really doesn’t matter what country you’re from. I absolutely think we can learn from each other and this applies to every single subject area or category. The more we talk about it, the better we become! In a way, CINET is the catalyst for communication, so that our industry can continue to rise. The cleaning of fabrics is a basic need for the population of the world. The CINET conference is the forum which creates the environment where we can get together to share all the innovations for our industry; retail to industrial, software to machinery, marketing to training!”

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(photo: Ribbon cutting in Frankenmuth)

Breaking News Archives - CINET - The International Committee of Textile Care (2024)
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